As expectations for a weekend truce dimmed, Ukraine said it will try again on Saturday to evacuate civilians from Mariupol, the devastated port city mostly controlled by Russian forces.
Separately, on Saturday, a Russian strike in Odessa, on the Black Sea, killed at least five people, including a newborn, and injured 18 others, according to Kyiv.
On Sunday, the war will enter its third month, with civilians continuing to bear the brunt of the conflict.
“Five Ukrainians were killed and 18 others were injured.” And those are the only ones we were able to locate. “The death toll is likely to be high,” Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine’s presidential office, warned on Telegram.
“The only purpose of Russian missile assaults on Odessa is terror,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stated earlier on Saturday. Ukraine’s air force claimed that two Russian TU-95 missiles fired from the Caspian Sea were intercepted by its defence systems.
On Telegram, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said, “Today we will try to evacuate women, children, and the elderly once more.”
“If all goes according to plan, we’ll begin the evacuation about midday.”
The call occurred a day after a senior Russian military general announced that the “second phase of the special operation” — as Moscow refers to its invasion of Ukraine — had begun, with the goal of gaining control of a large, strategically important portion of Ukrainian land.
The Azov battalion, which was founded by pro-Ukrainian nationalists in 2014, was later included as a regiment in Ukraine’s national guard, and has played a key part in the defence of Mariupol, released the video.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the location or date of the video’s production. The date is April 21st, according to someone speaking in the video.
The video shows soldiers providing food to citizens refuge in the Azovstal complex, according to the battalion.
People in the plant were running out of food, according to a mother clutching a toddler: “We really want to go home,” she added.
According to presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych, Russian forces are attacking the Azovstal complex with air attacks and attempting to storm it, despite Moscow’s announcement earlier this week that it would blockade the plant rather than seek to take it. According to Ukrainian authorities, the factory houses around 1,000 civilians as well as troops defending it.
After two months in the plant, one nameless youngster in the film expressed his desire to leave.
“I’d like to see the sun since it’s dim in here, not like it is outdoors.” We will be able to live in peace after our houses have been repaired. “Let Ukraine win since it is our birthplace,” he stated.
The video showed ladies wearing Azovstal-style uniforms, according to Reuters.
One woman claimed she had been hiding at the steel mill since February 27, just days after Russia invaded Ukraine.
“We are the workers’ family.” But here seemed to be the safest spot at the time we arrived; our house had caught fire and was rendered uninhabitable,” she explained.
Ukrainian officials have vowed to continue fighting and push Russian troops out of their country, but they have also requested an Easter break.
Mariupol has been surrounded and bombarded by Russian forces since the beginning of the war, leaving a city with a population of over 400,000 people in ruins. On Saturday, a new attempt to evacuate citizens failed, according to a spokesman for Mariupol’s mayor.
Moscow’s troops, who withdrew from the area around Kyiv and the north of Ukraine after failing to seize the city, now control much of the eastern Donbas region and the south.
Minnekaev stated that their current priority was to “provide a land corridor to Crimea,” which Russia annexed in 2014, as well as to a breakaway pro-Russian region of Moldova known as Transnistria, where the general claimed Russian-speaking people were “being oppressed.”